Ship of Dreams
Silver Wood Coven Book 15
Summer’s last chance couldn’t come at a worse time.
Though the sun is shining when Summer and her team arrive in Queenstown, Ireland, 1912, the charm of the port city belies the tragedy waiting to unfold. There’s barely time to comprehend the loss of a Templar team member, as she deals with two new additions: rogue warlocks.
But as the clock ticks down on the last of the Fae crystals, Summer falters. At long last, the strain of the time jumps and the stress of the mission begin to take their toll. Tired in body and spirit, her only consolation is her mates. But not even Troy and Michael can change the course that they must all take, as they board the Titanic to find the final crystal.
What Readers Are Saying
Another amazing episode for this series. We see the trio in more trouble but this time aboard the ill fated Titanic. There are a few twists and turns before you even get fully involved with the story but it just makes it that much better and we end on the biggest nail bitter yet.
One of the most famous disasters in history becomes our backdrop for this latest installment. I'm a big history fan so I've been hooked from the beginning. With using the Titanic the author has latched on to a subject that resonates with us all. Anyone who has heard the stories of that horrific day has played the what if game. Hazel Hunter has done that and more.
These new ones featuring them at important points in history have really been enjoyable. There is a great romance and plenty of action too. I love the intimate moments between them that reveal just how close they all are at this point.
Normally I buzz through books, but this one I had to slow down and in places re-read just so I did not miss anything…it is just that good.
This episode has you guessing about loyalties.
THE OCTOBER NIGHT sky above Chicago glowed a macabre orange-red from the flames spreading rapidly across the rooftops. As smoke rolled out in huge clouds, it blanketed the drought-parched land. Lightning from rainless clouds struck dozens of wooden buildings and groves of dead pines. A ferocious gale fanned the inferno, nurturing every blaze. It whipped through the streets, spreading chaos in its wake. For the three hundred thousand mortals being incinerated by their own city, Chicago had become Hell on earth.
As the Great Fire of 1871 raced toward the exclusive neighborhoods of the rich and privileged, the guests in the ballroom of the Penlaven mansion were already burning. Choking on smoke and fear, Summer Lautner frantically slapped at the burning skirt of her gown. All around her the elite of Chicago society screamed and writhed as their evening clothes caught fire.
“Beauty!” Michael Charbon called. He ran with a sword in his hand, and hacked off her flaming skirt with a few precise strokes of the razor-sharp blade. “Put your arms around my neck.”
No sooner had she done so than her sentinel mate clamped his arm around her and lifted her away from the blazing fabric. Summer released her golden warrior as he went to work on a mortal female’s fiery gown, and turned her head to see Cyrus Shelton doing the same for Elettra GemSage, their Fae tracker. Their movements seemed eerily identical, but Michael had once been a Templar like Shelton.
A rumble came from overhead as something burst on the roof, and Summer felt elemental power streaming around them.
“Troy,” she said.
Her other mate, Troy Atwater, was casting a spell with his hands raised toward the ceiling. The tall, dark warlock’s eyes glowed bright blue with his elemental power over water, but Summer didn’t understand why he was channeling it upward until plaster began to crumble. A bursting sound came from the roof, and streams of water poured down through the holes in the ceiling. The deluge instantly soaked everyone in the ballroom and snuffed out their flaming clothing. More smoke clouded the air as the fiery curtains and furnishings sizzled out.
Michael came to Summer, and gently parted the torn remains of her petticoat to inspect her legs.
“No burns,” he breathed. He nodded to Troy as he rose, then kissed her wet, soot-streaked brow. “Thank the Lord and Lady.”
Summer might not have been hurt by the fire, but more than her gown had been burned. She had brought her team to this time to retrieve a dangerous Fae crystal hidden inside a sword called ThunderBlade. They had already lost two other crystals to Wickerman, the murderous rogue warlock who in the future would use them to destroy the world. Lemuel Bowers, one of the Templars who had come with them, had sworn to help her—right before he had snatched the treasure. He’d used their enemy’s time portal and jumped ahead to the future to find the fourth and final crystal.
Summer had feared someone had been helping Wickerman take the advantage during their jaunt through history, but not the friendly, cheerful Bowers. Not when he had been right under her nose the entire time. As the guardian of the Emerald Tablet, the oldest and most powerful Wiccan grimoire in existence, she should have known, or at least suspected. Once again her nearly unlimited powers hadn’t done anything to help their mission.
No, I failed, Summer thought. And it can’t happen again, or the world will pay the price.
“It’s a good thing they have rooftop water tanks in this time,” Troy said as he joined them. He brushed back the dripping hair from Summer’s face. “You all right, love?”
“Thanks to you and Michael, yes.” She leaned against his shoulder for a moment. As she did she saw through the windows what looked like an enormous funnel of fire roaring through the streets toward them. “Goddess, what is that?”
“A fire whirl,” Michael said. “I saw it happen when London burned. When the hot air rises, the colder air above makes it drop again and spin like a tornado. ”
Troy’s jaw tightened. “Don’t remind me of sixteen sixty-six. I hated that year.” He stepped away from them as he raised his voice and said to the frightened guests, “Listen to me. The city is on fire, and it’s spreading. All of you must leave at once. Don’t try to return to your homes. Get out of here and head west.”
That set off a fresh round of screams as people rushed to the windows to look out, and then a hasty exodus began.
In the chaos Summer didn’t waste her breath calling her team together, but sent her thoughts through her telepathic link with her mates: Get everyone in a circle. We’re leaving now, too.
She glanced at Jadine and Tryston, two of Wickerman’s minions, who had been trapped in the past with them. That Bowers abandoned his accomplices when he jumped alone through their time portal didn’t surprise her, but she had no intention of leaving behind the two rogues.
Michael, she thought and showed him an image of what she wanted him to do. Quickly, before they suspect.
The big man nodded, and moved toward Elettra. Once he passed Jadine and Tryston he turned and dealt two brutal blows to the base of their skulls. As they collapsed he hefted them under his arms and carried them back to Summer.
Elettra stalked after him, her glorious Fae form concealed behind an illusion of a petite, ordinary-looking brunette house maid. When he dropped the unconscious rogues in front of Summer, Elettra looked startled.
“Why do you not– ” she started but then glowered. “No. You cannot mean to bring them.”
“We don’t have a choice,” Summer said. As the others gathered in a circle around the fallen rogues Summer hauled Tryston’s short body upright. “Take his hand, Elettra. Shelton, I want you on the other side of him. Michael, you and Troy hold onto Jadine.”
For a moment Summer thought the Fae wouldn’t cooperate, but then she hissed something under her breath and clamped her hand on the little man’s. Her big, dark Templar lover did the same, suspending the unconscious rogue between them. Once Summer’s mates had taken hold of Jadine it was time to complete the circle and cast the time-traveling spell. Summer curled her hands around Michael’s and Elettra’s.
“Our work here is done, take this circle of travelers to Queenstown, Ireland, the day the tenth, the month April, the year nineteen twelve A.D. So may it be.”
The power of the Emerald Tablet enveloped the circle as a shimmering dark oval stretched open above them. It showed a peaceful harbor beside a small village of boxy houses surrounding a Gothic cathedral. Summer kept her mates and the others with her as she rose and entered the portal.
The passage through time seemed to take only a heartbeat. With a start, Summer realized they’d arrived, their jump of only decades already over. Blessedly cool, soft air curled around Summer as she looked around at her team. Although the smoke had painted their faces and garments black, and her and Elettra’s gowns were in tatters, no one seemed hurt.
The sunny, narrow lane where they stood had been paved in strangely rounded stones. It smelled of smoke, salt and earth, and was lined with basket traps draped with nets. Two large, boxy buildings stretched along either side, and a Union Jack flag fluttered in the breeze overhead. She could hear the gentle lapping of waves, the creak of wooden wheels, and the music of Irish voices from a nearby alley.
“We need to clean up and find some new clothes before we parade around town,” Troy said. He tucked Tryston under his arm as he inspected the two buildings around them. “We might get lucky and find a seedy tavern where they won’t ask too many questions.”
“We will also need rope,” Michael said, as he draped Jadine over his shoulder. “Strong rope.”
“Cyrus and I will find the clothing,” Elettra said.
Tiny stars showered over her petite form, which shifted into a towering, golden-haired female. Her ruined maid’s uniform also changed into a clean, dark gray dress.
“If we can’t steal garments,” Shelton said, “we’ll need cash to buy them.”
Summer glanced at Troy. “Do you still have the money that Adeline gave us before we left for the Penlaven ball?”
He showed her the thick wad of currency, flipping quickly to the British banknotes. “It’s forty years old now, but it should still be good.”
As Troy gave Shelton some of the money, Elettra went to Summer. For a long moment she looked into her eyes.
“I am sorry that I slapped you when you hurt Cyrus,” Elettra said. She reached out and touched Summer’s cheek. “But only because I am much stronger than you, and I might have broken your face, or snapped your neck.”
Summer covered the Fae woman’s hand with her own. “I’m glad you didn’t, and I’m sorry, too.” She glanced at Shelton. “For everything.”
“So we will be friends again,” Elettra declared and seemed pleased by that. “That is good. When we return, I will kill these rogues for you.”
• • • • •
If the situation hadn’t been so grim Michael would have laughed at the Fae woman’s offer.
“We need them alive, Elettra,” Summer said, in the careful tone she used whenever the Fae proposed doing something outrageous to them that she considered perfectly acceptable. “They know what Wickerman’s plans are to get the fourth crystal, and since Bowers abandoned them in Chicago, they now know their master intended to sacrifice them.”
“Ah, you are cunning,” the Fae said. Another shower of starry magic engulfed Elettra as she shifted back into her ordinary mortal guise. “When you are ready to question them, you should have Cyrus do the work. He was imprisoned and tortured for a very long time, so he will know the best ways to hurt them until they confess.”
Michael exchanged a look with her Templar lover, who cleared his throat.
“I think what Lady Summer means,” Shelton said, “is that they may help us out of gratitude.”
“Very well,” Elettra said but scowled. After being buried alive for ten thousand years, the Fae woman had very little patience with anything that involved waiting. “But if they do not help by the time we return with the clothing, I will torture them.” She tucked her arm in Shelton’s and they headed out of the alley.
A low groan came from Tryston, and Troy tightened his grip on the small man.
“Whatever we’re going to do, we’d better find a place to do it now.”
Michael rubbed some dirt from one of the building’s windows, and looked inside. The interior appeared packed with crates, but he saw no sign of any mortals.
“In here,” he said.
He moved to the nearest door, which he forced open with one kick. Inside Michael put down Jadine and performed a quick sweep of the warehouse. On top of some wooden crates, he found not only hooks, blocks, and tackle, but plenty of rope. He and Troy used it to tie both rogues to opposite sides of a sturdy roof strut.
A few moments later Tryston came to with a jerk and a curse. “Bloody hell, you sodding two-face bastard, why did you…” He looked up at Michael, and paled as if all his color emptied into his spiky red hair. “Bugger me. Bowers didn’t come back for us.”
Troy perched on the edge of a crate. “Nope.”
The small man craned his neck until he saw his accomplice behind him.
“Jadine,” he said in a low, shaking tone, “you all right then?”
“Oh, my freaking head,” the scarred woman moaned. She stirred at the sound of her comrade’s voice, opening her eyes to slits as she became aware of their surroundings. She tried to move and jerked against the tightly-knotted cords. “What the fuck is this shit?”
“Bowers abandoned you,” Michael said. He moved in front of her to watch the play of emotions over her face. She didn’t show any fear, but the bitter line of her mouth hinted at her despair. “We brought you with us when we made the jump to Queenstown.”
“Right,” Jadine said. Her many scars stood out white as a flash of anger flooded her face. But then her shoulders slumped. “Here’s how it should go. A blade or a bullet in the heart will do Tryston–”
“Oy,” the little man protested sharply.
“–but with my healing ability,” Jadine continued, “You’ll have to beat me to death, or cut off my head. If you go with the second, I’d appreciate it if you’d use something sharp. Less hacking involved.”
“So tempted,” Troy said, folding his arms, “but no.”
“We didn’t save your lives so we could kill you,” Summer said. She came to stand beside Michael. “We need your help.”
“Now she’ll promise us a pardon from the council,” Jadine said to Tryston. “All we have to do is tell them everything, join the team, and get ourselves killed.”
“I’m up for all but the last,” the little man said. “Would there be a bit of coin tossed in for a new start when we get back?”
Before Summer could reply Jadine said, “This bunch will say anything to get the fourth treasure. When they do, they’ll send us to the bottom with the big boat.” She gave Michael a tired smirk. “Just decapitate me already, okay?”
Summer’s opal eyes took on a shrewd coolness as she studied the rogue’s downcast face.
“Troy, untie them and let them go.”
“What?” Troy said. The dark warlock stiffened. “I don’t think that’s a good idea, love.”
“The Magus Corps doesn’t make deals with rogues,” Summer said to Jadine. “If we take you back to our time, you will be held responsible for what you’ve done. But that won’t be for another century. If you and your friend want a new start, you should stay here.”
“You’d let us go,” Jadine said flatly as her scars turned a livid pink. “Just like that.”
“We don’t have time to deal with you,” Summer said and smiled. “So if you want your head lopped off, Ms. Cutter, you’ll have to do it yourself.”
Michael knew Troy didn’t care for Summer’s decision, but his brother said nothing as they untied the rogues. As soon as they did Tryston came around to inspect Jadine.
“World War One hasn’t started yet,” he told her. “You could make a go of it somewhere away from the fighting. Japan, maybe. They’re letting foreigners in again now, and those cherry trees are pretty.”
“Come on,” she told him, and headed for the exit.
But instead of obediently following her, Tryston looked up at Summer.
“Bowers was the one who knew where SunCask was hidden on the ship,” the little man said. “So can’t help you with that, but I’ve a handy ability to create distractions while you look for it. Don’t move.”
The little warlock reached out and tapped a crate, which fell over, spilling sacks of small ball bearings. With a flutter of his fingers he sent them scattering around Summer and her mate’s feet before he made a fist. Just as Michael thought he might have to clout Tryston again the bearings returned to their sack, and the crate righted itself.
“Tryston,” Jadine said, sounding furious. “We’re leaving.”
“Can’t do that, darling girl,” the little man said. He nodded at Summer. “I’m with them now.”
Book 1: Rescued
Book 2: Stolen
Book 3: United
Book 4: Betrayed
Book 5: Revealed
Book 6: Lost
Book 7: Divided
Book 8: Gone
Book 9: Burned
Book 10: Reclaimed
Book 11: Call of Fate
Book 12: Sea of Love
Book 13: Palace of Pleasure
Book 14: House of Desire
Book 15: Ship of Dreams
Book 16: Lens of Time
Silver Wood Coven Box Set